FIRST, or For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is an international charity whose goal is to encourage students to pursue STEM education and careers. We participate in two of the competitions they sponsor: FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge. We've also supported their program for younger students, FIRST Lego League by hosting qualifying competitions, staffing championship competitions, and providing FLL teams with mentors. For more information about FIRST, visit usfirst.org.
FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC): In this competition, teams of 25+ have six weeks to design and build a robot to accomplish the year’s challenge. At competition, teams compete in randomly assigned alliances, groups of three teams, for the seating matches. The top eight teams are allowed to pick their alliance members for quarter, semi, and final matches to compete for the Robot Competition Award. The highest honor award, The Chairman’s Award, is for the written portion of the competition, an essay that explains the process and design choices of the robot.
FTC is a robotics competition with challenges modeled after various sports. Our team is responsible for designing, building, and programming our robot, which will be allied with the robot of another team during each competition. The robot is made with parts from the given reusable kit. Our teams benefits from our awesome coaches and mentors (Carl Seagren, James "Ox" Gibson, James Loftus, and Danny Diaz), who offer their expertise to help us develop strategies and robots based on sound engineering principles. FTC gives awards for performance in the competition, as for well as for community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments.
BEST, Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology, was founded in 1993 to inspire students to pursue careers in engineering, science, and technology through participation in a sports-like, science and engineering-based robotics competition. The organization is volunteer based and incorporates the expertise of professional engineers with the creative minds of high school and middle school students. Every fall, participants learn engineering concepts as well as team building and responsibility through competing in the head-to-head robot competition and BEST Award competition.
Each season, BEST competitions involve the creation of a Robot, a Notebook, a Display, and a Presentation. The Robot is generally required to fit within a 2 foot cube, must remain within weight limits, and is designed to carry out a specific set of tasks, and The Notebook documents the entire design and build process, as well as the team itself. The Display showcases the robot, the team, and the team’s approach to the year’s game, while the Presentation gives students an opportunity to describe the robot, the robot’s capabilities, the team’s dynamics, and the team’s outreach efforts to a panel of judges.
Robots are smaller, the fields are smaller, there are no alliances, and there is a very large emphasis on writing, the display, and the entire engineering process.
Our team regularly competes at Capitol BEST and Texas BEST, and participated in the 2011 National BEST competition in Orlando, Florida.
More information about BEST can be found on the BEST Robotics Inc. website, located at: http://www.bestinc.org